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All four Eastern Conference pairings set

Saturday, 04.11.2009 / 9:45 PM / NHL Insider

By NHL.com Staff

Pittsburgh's 3-1 victory at Montreal on Saturday night has set up all four Eastern Conference pairings in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Montreal's loss assured that the Canadiens will finish eighth. That earned the Canadiens an opening-round matchup with first-place Boston -- a repeat of last year's first round, in which the Canadiens outlasted the Bruins 4-3. The teams have met 31 times in the playoffs, with Montreal winning 24 times. The Bruins finish their season Sunday on the road against the New York Islanders.

Second-place Washington will play the seventh-place New York Rangers, who finish their season Sunday at Philadelphia. The Caps won the Southeast Division by 11 points over Carolina and won three of their four meetings with the Rangers.

New Jersey, which won the Atlantic Division, will play sixth-place Carolina after beating the Hurricanes on Saturday in the season finale for both teams. Carolina won its first three meetings with the Devils this season.

Philadelphia and Pittsburgh will meet in the other first-round series, though the Flyers need a point on Sunday to earn fourth place and the home-ice edge in the opening round.

Pittsburgh won four of the six meetings this season, one in overtime and another in a shootout.
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Just the feel for the direction they were headed and what they're trying to do, it just felt that this is a really good thing for this organization. They've got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while, and I'm really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win, and that's the most attractive thing.

— Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen on why he decided to sign with the Capitals